Fast-paced fiction based on foreboding fact

Fast-paced fiction based on foreboding fact

Posted on October 25 by Don Easton in Fiction, Recent Releases
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“I’m sorry to inform you that your husband has been shot and killed.” Words no wife should ever have to hear. Worse yet when the murder was the random result of a case of mistaken identity. Wrong spot, wrong time – gunned down for driving a vehicle similar to one owned by a gangster being hunted by an opposing gang.


Or imagine parents having to face the news their five- and nine-year-old daughters had been shot while in a playground. Welcome to the new reality Canadians are beginning to have to face up to.


My latest novel in the Jack Taggart mystery series is about an undercover RCMP officer tracking down sophisticated weapons being smuggled into Canada. As a novel, An Element of Risk falls into the fiction category. But sadly, the incidents above are not fictional – and much of the Jack Taggart series is based on personal experience from having worked as an undercover Mountie myself over a span of two decades.


Part of my reason for writing An Element of Risk is to awaken Canadian readers to an incoming wave of senseless violence in our country. My novel highlights the problems our neighbours to the south face, where data from the Gun Violence Archive lists a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter – nine out of every 10 days on average.


The resulting culture of fear promotes the purchase of more guns, including sophisticated handguns, military assault rifles, and even the availability of silencers. Today, there is more risk of being killed by a gun in the United States than there is by being killed in a motor vehicle accident in Canada.


In 2015, firearms in the United States were used to kill 13,286 people, excluding suicides. Canadians need to ask themselves if we really want to emulate our neighbours to the south. For them, it would appear that their elected representatives are unable – or unwilling – to stem the slaughter. Canada, however, is still in a positon to do so. Should the right to own a handgun or military-grade firearm for sport or as a “collector’s item” take precedence over public safety? Victims’ families may beg to differ.


Recently the mayors of Toronto and Montreal have called for a total ban on all handguns. Although such a ban would not prevent all shootings, it would certainly save lives. In 1996, Australia severely tightened their gun laws – over the next seven years, their homicide and suicide rate dropped by half. That’s a lot of lives saved – let alone a dramatic cut in tax dollars being spent to cover the expense of medical, police, and court costs associated with such shootings.


An Element of Risk might be an entertaining, fast-paced novel, but the reality is that the underlying theme includes as much reality as fiction – something that needs to be addressed before we too are immersed in a culture of fear, where it may be too late to turn back.

Don Easton

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
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Don Easton

Don Easton worked as an undercover Mountie for twenty years, including seven years in an RCMP Intelligence Unit. He lives in Victoria, B.C.